LAT Photographic

Italian Grand Prix Qualifying – Lotus Renault GP

Hot Stuff – Italian GP, Saturday 10 September 2011

It was another strong qualifying day for LRGP, with both R31s able to secure top 10 positions for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix. Vitaly will line up in P7 and Bruno in P10.

• Drivers felt the heat this afternoon, as the blistering Italian temperatures peaked at 46°C at track level.

• At the beginning of Q2 Vitaly put in his best time of the weekend; a 1min 23.741secs lap allowed him to return to the garage early on, before competing in Q3 to secure his seventh position with a lap time of 1min 23.530secs.

• Bruno demonstrated his ability to cope under pressure, as he knocked Paul Di Resta off 10th position by less than one hundredth of a second right at the end of Q2.

• Bruno Q1: Mediums, Softs Q2: Softs, Softs, Q3: No timed lap

• Vitaly Q1: Mediums, Softs Q2: Softs, Q3: Softs

Bruno Senna, P10, R31-04, 1:24.157
“I am satisfied with my performance because this was only my second qualifying session this year, and it was definitely a close shave getting into Q3. I was glad to have Vitaly as my reference today because I was struggling to find the right braking points in Q1 and Q2. I put a very respectable lap together at the end of Q2, and I was pleased that I was able to handle the pressure and slot into 10th position. If I had ran in Q3, I would have needed to use two sets of tyres, so I’m glad I was able to save them and hopefully that decision will stand me in good stead come tomorrow’s race. I would also like to thank the team for providing such a competitive car this weekend.”

Vitaly Petrov, P7, R31-06, 1:23.530
“I am extremely pleased to qualify in P7. It was a tough start to the practice session this morning, as we had a few aero issues to cope with. The team then came into the qualifying session having prepared a very good car for me, and they made the right decisions. It looks like we have brought the right downforce package to this race, although we will have to wait until the race tomorrow before we see full evidence of that. We are very, very happy to be lining up on the grid with both cars right up where they should be, and I’m optimistic of having a good race tomorrow.”

Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer:
You must be reasonably happy with today’s outcome…
It was a good session for us today, and it was nice to have both cars through to Q3 in qualifying again. We have become increasingly confident over the last couple of weekends that our upgrade package was having the desired effect; the Monza wing package is working well and we have shown good straight line speed and reasonable lap time so we are confident of having a good race.

Strategically, are there quite a few options open to the team tomorrow?
Well, straight line speed is important here and if we can make the car work well on low downforce, it will make things far easier in the race. Having the double-DRS zone here offers more overtaking opportunities, and things should be easier in that regard compared to some of the other races recently.

Are you happy with how the drivers performed today?
Yes, I’m pleased with both drivers. I’m happy with Bruno for getting into Q3 again in only his second weekend as a race driver with us, but Vitaly did an excellent lap in Q2, and we took the choice to only let him run once during that middle session because we thought his lap was good enough. He had a fresh set for Q3, which allowed him to secure a good grid position; Bruno didn’t have a fresh set, and we elected for him not to run in order to save his tyres for the race. Realistically, we felt his best position would have been 10th anyway.

• Did you know? Bruno and Vitaly recorded the second and third-highest speeds during today’s qualifying session; Bruno reached 347.2kph and Vitaly 344.8kph.